Saturday, April 29, 2017

A festive re-opening of "Blue and White"

A while ago I had mentioned some mug-rugs I had made for Amy Katoh in celebration of the re-opening of her small "Blue and White" shop.

Each week as I walked to the station after school, I looked up at the corner location where the store was set to re-open. I did get notice of the opening party to be held from 2 to 4:pm on Saturday, the 29th.

Since I have an english class from 2:pm, I was not sure I could attend, so on my way home from school on Wednesday, I dropped in to wish them well on the re-opening and hand over the mug-rugs I had made in celebration. Saturday dawned warm and sunny, a beautiful day ... and the first night I had slept with windows opened and only one layer of covers.

All morning I toyed with the idea of making a run into town after my class was over. When that moment came, I looked up at the clouds rolling in and wondered if I needed to go home and close the windows in my greenhouse ... but I kept walking to the station. On the train, I wondered if I should just get off at the next stop and buy needed dog food or keep going. Well, I decided to keep going and I'm glad I did.

The entire trip takes about an hour including the walk at each end, so it was just about 4:00 when I came up through the park toward the shop.

On the corner of the street, there was "Music"!

This scene takes me back many years ... something hardly ever seen these days is a "chindon'ya,

These are street entertainers, employed to advertise the opening of new stores or sales or plays or other events.
Dressed in bright costumes and playing gongs or drums and a variety of instruments, parading in the streets, they used to be a common site. 50+ years ago, there were some living nearby and were often riding in the same train car on the return from the city.

These had been hired by someone for the opening and told not to disclose the donor. They certainly added to the festive occasion and I was glad not to have missed toe performance as they paraded up the street from the corner to the shop.

The last few weeks, an escalator had been built to the second floor and Amy was greeting visitors on the area at the top.

The windows to the right of the escalator are the shop itself.

The shop was still full of well-wishers and some shoppers.

A table was spread with good things to eat.

There were people I know  ... some from long ago, like Amy's son who was once one of my cub scouts, a church friend choosing some indigo koi-nobori (carp streamers), and a nice young man I met for the first time, who has a soul-food shop across the street.

The musicians came in to enjoy the goodies

and certainly be thanked and admired.

Here are a few items from the shop shelves.

Not everything  is blue and white, but those colors are heavily represented.

A nice supply of sashiko

and tenugui ....

Books ... chopstick rests ... small spoons ... and other goodies ....

And, outside the shop entrance, many many gifts of flowers from friends, wishing Amy well in her new location.

It is clear this neighborhood icon is a much loved member of the community.

As I arrived close to the ending time, I did not want to stat too long. I'm sure everyone involved in the opening was tired from many hours of work in preparation.

Amy told me that at a time in her life when she should be retiring, people must think her crazy for starting her business all over again.
I'm so glad she has!

Here is a picture taken from the corner.

The white metal fence is in front of the space where her shop used to be.
The signs on the fence point the way to the new location.

At the far right you can see the blue and white banner at the top of the escalator.

If you are ever in the area of Azabu-juban,
please take a short walk from the station to visit Amy's shop at its new location. If you like indigo items of clothing, specially dyed fabrics, or a gift to take home, I'm sure you will find something.

Actually, a koi-nobori rode the train home with me.

I shall have to hang it out tomorrow...
Tonight I am hearing thunder so I had better take Nikko on her evening jaunt and make sure the windows in the green house are closed.


  1. How utterly heart warming and enjoyable. Life can be lived to the full at any age. It's good to say "Yes!"

  2. a carp streamer just happened to make its way home with you? I wonder if it is blue and white, or those beautiful colours sewn together? What a grand opening, street music, food and flowers to celebrate. New beginnings are good for us at any age, it just takes more will-power and nerve to begin.

  3. So glad the grand re-opening went well. Glad you could attend. I like the kimono mini quilt, hanging near the chop sticks. Enjoy your new carp streamer.

  4. How wonderful that Amy's new store has an escalator up to the front door! - I hope she enjoys great success in her new location! The blue and white color combo has always been one of my favorites - I have a set of blue/white saimin bowls in two sizes that I use for everything. I wonder if a blue/white carp streamer could come as far as California - ;))

  5. What a delight to see the opening. And the musicians are a lovely tradition. I am so pleased you were able to make it in time. The items in the shop are very interesting. And I am pleased that it didn't rain to cause you any problems when you were there.

  6. Thank you for sharing the opening with us. Sadly I missed the previous shop on my last visit, but will make sure it is on my list next time. Wishing Amy every success and happiness and hope you visit many times more.

  7. Quilt friends visiting from abroad all rave about Blue and White, and it certainly is an icon. I hope it will stay popular and attract a lot of customers in its new location.

  8. How interesting - I just love reading about customs in your area. The shop sound marvelous! Thanks for sharing.

  9. What a lovely party! Isn't it wonderful that your instincts told you to keep going! I love little shops like that with interesting things in them. We have very few of them here - mostly box stores... I am sure you have told us before what a carp streamer is, but I am hoping you will tell/show us again.

  10. That's so lovely Julie. I certainly go there whenever I can be in Tokyo next time!